motorcycle safety tips

The Dos and Don'ts of Standing up on the Pegs in Off-Road Riding

The Dos and Don'ts of Standing up on the Pegs in Off-Road Riding

Have you ever had the chance to watch a motocross rider perform well on tricky off-road circuits? You have probably observed that they do not cling to the motorcycle seats. They continue to move back and forth. Nevertheless, most of the time, these motocross riders are also seen standing on the footpegs. Why is it so? Let’s find out!


One of the things that a skilled dirt rider is supposed to be able to do is stand on footpegs while off-roading. It may look a bit risky if you are new to off-roading. However, when riders practice standing on the pegs in off-road conditions, it gives them complete control of the dirt bike on bumpy trails.


If a rider doesn’t stand on the footpegs while off-roading, it means that the rider is unfamiliar and inexperienced. Sitting on the seat of the motorcycle while off-roading can make one feel like bouncing or can even send the rider flying over the handlebars.


When you stand on the footpegs while off-roading, you are using your legs as springs or shock absorbers. It helps to avoid transferring any shock to your back. It also makes the off-road ride smoother and gives you more control of your bike.


Continue reading this article to learn the guidelines for standing on the pegs, especially off-road riding. This article will discuss the advantages of such an off-road riding style and how to do it like a pro. It will also expand on avoiding things while standing on the footpegs in off-road riding. This article is a must-read for those who dream of overcoming challenging off-road tracks and becoming a pro dirt biker.

The Dos and Don

1. Why Standing on the Footpegs?

Standing up on the footpegs in off-road riding isn’t only about looking cool. It provides several benefits to riders while maneuvering on tough terrains while off-roading. Here’s how you can have several benefits from it:

1.1 Become a Shock Absorber

Become a Shock Absorber
Photo Credit: Bali Dirt Bikes

Off-roading isn’t as simple as riding on the road. You face many challenges, bumps, obstacles, and sudden surprises that can cause you to fall off your dirt bike. Particularly if you are stuck to the seat, every bump and obstacle will translate the jolt to your whole body, including your backbone.


Facing a sudden obstacle while off-roading can also make you get detached from your seat. It can even send you flying over the handlebars. This can result in losing control of your bike or keeping the balance.


For these reasons, standing on the footpegs in off-road riding makes your legs act as additional shock absorbers. Your legs act as springs and can take many shocks without translating them to your body, particularly your back.


Standing on the footpegs also smooth off-road riding and provides better control to the rider over the bike. As riders stand on the footpegs in off-road riding, they tightly grip or hold the gas tank between their knees, allowing them to control the bike easily with their legs. This also improves the handling of the bike while off-roading.

1.2 See Farther; Read the Terrain Better

When you stick to your seat while off-roading, you have a limited view of ahead. In off-road conditions, knowing what is ahead of you is essential, as the terrain and challenges may change every second.


Standing on the footpegs in off-road riding can help you enhance your view. You can see farther and can easily predict the coming challenges on your way. You can judge tricky turns and possible traps and make timely decisions to save yourself from falling off or getting injured.

1.3 Become a Better Maneuverer

1.3 Become a Better Maneuverer
Photo Credit: GN Gonzales

Being active and flexible are essential skills to help you become an expert off-roader. You must know how to shift your weight and adjust your position according to the circumstances.


Your body becomes a giant steering wheel when you stand on the footpegs in off-road riding. As mentioned earlier, you get better control over your bike and maneuver it like a pro with your legs. Standing on the pegs can help you easily adjust your weight. This allows you to maneuver the bike better, turn corners, and steer around tight spots or obstacles you frequently face on dirt trails.


Standing on the pegs makes you more familiar with your bike. It makes you a pro-off-road rider. If you know how and when to stand on the pegs, you can conquer almost every off-road challenge that comes your way.

1.4 Climb Steep Terrains Effectively

Climb Steep Terrains Effectively
Photo Credit: Cycle World

Another useful advantage of standing on the pegs in off-road riding is when you have to climb steep terrain. If you want to make climbing hills or steep terrains easy, stand on your pegs, shift your weight forward, and grip your bike with your legs. This will ensure better traction and more power to the rear wheel when pushing you up and forward on steep terrain.


However, standing on the pegs while climbing steep terrains or hills is not all. Though it can help you somewhat, riders must also learn how much throttle they should give and what gear their bike should be in to climb steep terrain while off-roading.

1.5 Brake with Confidence

Standing on the footpegs while off-roading improves your riding confidence. It also improves your braking confidence, which is an important skill to learn in off-roading. Braking on slippery and loose terrain and while riding downhill can be quite challenging.


However, it can be made considerably easier if you learn to stand on the pegs. Firstly, you get a better grip on your handlebars and can apply more pressure to the rear brake when you are standing.

2. The Dos of Standing up on the Pegs in Off-Road Riding

Standing on the pegs is a key to overcoming challenges in off-road riding. However, it must be done correctly to ensure better control of your bike. Below are the dos of standing on the pegs in off-road riding:

2.1 Gear Up for Off-Road Adventures

Off-road riding requires specialized gear that offers more protection and safety. A specialized off-road helmet is a must. In addition, you must be equipped with good-quality off-road motorcycle boots and knee pads to comfortably and safely stand on the pegs while off-roading.


Off-road motorcycle boots must provide a good grip as you stand on footpegs. They should stick to the pegs regardless of how challenging the situation is. Similarly, knee pads are also great to ensure comfort and protection, especially when you stand on the pegs.

2.2 Practice Standing on the Pegs

Want to learn the essential skill of standing on the pegs in off-road riding? Stay away from a challenging, bumpy dirt trail. Practice standing on the pegs on flat ground first and then gradually move to a more challenging terrain.


First, you must get the feel of how the bike feels and balances when you are standing on the pegs. While standing on the pegs, keep your core muscles engaged in the process. You must also bend your knees slightly to make them act like springs. Consider yourself a part of a motorcycle.


Adjust your weight while standing on the pegs to see what changes it brings to the bike's handling and feel. You must also maintain a good standing posture to stay comfortable while off-roading.

2.3 Grip the Bars Lightly; Not Tightly

To get the maximum output from standing on the footpegs in off-road riding, you must grip the bars lightly. The more relaxed and light the grip is, the more you are reactive and in control of your bike while off-roading.

2.4 Bend Your Knees

Keep your knees bent as you stand on the pegs while off-roading. This standing position provides several advantages. First, your knees act like springs/shock absorbers. Second, bent knees while standing on the pegs ensure better handling, maneuverability, and steering capabilities. As you maneuver on tough terrain while off-roading, your knees should bend and flex as you hit a bump or a rough patch.

2.5 Keep an Eye Ahead

Dirt trails or off-road terrains are full of challenges. You can face a completely different situation in a minute while off-roading. To avoid unpleasant or dangerous surprises on your way while off-roading, make sure to keep your eyes ahead. Pay attention to the dirt trail or track. It is a plus point if you are experienced enough to read and interpret the terrain ahead to be safe.


When standing on the pegs, it is easier to scan the track ahead with a better view. However, if you are new to this, you may need help to focus on many things at once in an off-road situation.


Don’t pay all your attention to the front wheel. If you want to anticipate better, stay well-informed, alert, flexible, and reactive during the ride. It is like reading a book. You will not be able to understand the story and what the author wants to convey if you only focus on one word at a time.

2.6 Keep your Body Relaxed

Stay relaxed and don’t think about it much. Do not burden your mind and body while sitting and standing on the footpegs while off-roading. You will naturally learn when to stand on the footpegs while off-roading.


Take deep breaths throughout the ride, and stay calm and comfortable. This will help you avoid muscle fatigue while off-roading.

2.7 Footwork and Foot Placement Matters

How you stand on the footpegs matters the most in off-road riding. For most situations, it is best to stand on the pegs with flat feet.


However, when you are required to brake hard or shift between gears, you must adjust your feet accordingly on the pegs. You must practice and experiment with different foot placements to find what makes you feel the most comfortable and in control.

3. The Don’ts of Standing up on the Pegs in Off-Road Riding

Standing up on the pegs in off-road riding is a great skill to acquire. However, before you start learning this skill, there are a few things that must be avoided:

3.1 Start With the Basic

If you are new to off-road riding, avoid attempting to stand on the pegs. First, master many things before moving on to expert-level skills. Learn how to control and balance a bike while sitting. Get used to the throttle, clutch, braking, and turning in off-road conditions.


Once you are confident, practice standing on the pegs on plain tracks. You should gradually take your skills to the next level. 

3.2 Standing Up on the Pegs Unnecessarily

Wait to stand up on the pegs or keep standing throughout the ride. You must learn when to stand on your pegs. It is a technique, not a riding position.


Remember, you are more comfortable sitting on a bike during the ride. However, certain situations in off-road riding can make you highly uncomfortable if you don’t stand on the pegs.


It comes naturally when to stand on the pegs while off-roading. If you stand up too soon, it can break your rhythm and make you feel tired even before the adventure starts.

3.3 Avoid Locking Your Knees

Your legs play a crucial role in off-road riding. If you stand on the pegs with straight legs and lock them in such a position, you can get tired quickly. The impact of potholes and bonces will still be translated to your body even if you are standing on the pegs.


As already discussed in the “Dos” section, bending knees is the key to maneuvering safely and comfortably on dirt tracks. 

3.4 Don’t Stand on Your Toes

Standing on your toes or the balls of your feet is a good idea to get a taller view and stretch your legs. However, you must avoid it as it puts much strain on your calves. Such a position prevents you from controlling the bike perfectly while off-roading.


You should stand on the pegs with flat feet, as this ensures a firm stance, a stable base, and better control over the bike.

3.5 Don’t Grip the Bars Tightly

Do not put excessive pressure or tightly grip the handlebars, as it will make steering harder while off-roading. You will not be able to react when faced with sudden obstacles and challenging situations.


Imagine playing a tennis game. If you are holding the tennis racket too tightly, you may not be able to swing the racket. You have to ensure your grip is light enough and tight enough. While standing on the footpegs in off-road riding, your hands and shoulders must be relaxed and reactive.

3.6 Don’t Ignore Your Limits

Though standing on the footpegs while off-roading can help you overcome many challenging off-road situations, one must not forget his/her skill level. When you are riding on a dirt track that you are not familiar with, don’t ignore your limits and the limits of your bike. Don’t try to deal with or overcome obstacles and terrains that are incredibly challenging for your expertise and skill level.


As you get better at standing on the pegs and other off-road skills, you will naturally be able to handle technical and challenging terrains. There is nothing wrong with starting small and gradually becoming better in off-road riding.

4. Takeaway

Standing on the pegs while riding an off-road bike is a valuable skill. It provides several advantages, including the ability to overcome challenging terrain. However, it is not only about looking cool and expert.


Standing on the pegs can completely transform your off-roading experience. However, riding while standing on the pegs in off-road riding can take time and requires a lot of practice.


With the helpful tips mentioned in this article and strong determination, you can become a pro off-road rider quickly. So, gear up perfectly for off-road adventures, loosen your grip on the bars, and be ready to stand up on the pegs to conquer challenging off-road adventures.

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